It’s easy to get into a rut on Instagram, posting the same old photos and staying firmly inside your comfort zone. However, if you want to get noticed and grow your following, it’s time to get creative and branch out. You don’t have to become a Photoshop whizz or invest in fancy camera equipment, it’s more about thinking outside the box about how you can develop your content.
Sara Tasker is the queen of Instagram creativity. Not only does she share inspiring photos on her own feed, but she offers a range of online courses to help others to unearth their potential. Her Insta-Retreat course is an all-encompassing look at how to improve your Instagram but she also offers two smaller, seasonal courses (Bloom & Grow and Gloom & Glow) that aim to unleash your creativity. I signed up to Gloom & Glow when it launched at the end of last year, hoping to feel inspired at a time of year when I struggled with my photography. Sara’s course taught me to see winter in a whole new light, unearthing new possibilities for how to get creative with light, weather and general gloominess. I emerged from the course with a tighter aesthetic across my photography and a much more creative outlook, and would highly recommend her e-courses for anyone who feels like they are stuck in a rut.
Not everyone can afford to sign up to an online course, and there are many other ways that you can boost your creativity without spending a penny. Hashtag projects are becoming more and more popular, and are a great way of stepping outside your comfort zone. The obvious option is the Weekend Hashtag Project, set up by Instagram itself. Every week, a new theme is unveiled, allowing users to spend the weekend getting creative with taking a photo that fits in. Instagram then share their favourite photographs, giving users an incentive for unleashing their creativity.
There are various other hashtag projects that mostly operate in the same way, offering exposure and hopefully a boost in followers in return for users creating content. Some even offer physical prizes. Whatever your niche, there are countless options out there, such as @sogoodineveryway which changes their theme weekly, sharing their favourite images that use the relevant #sgiew hashtag or #aquietstyle which offers a prize for a monthly theme, and of course Whalar have their own monthly hashtag project, #ObjectProject, for you to get involved with.
It’s not just the featured winners who benefit from getting involved; everyone who submits a photo will have their work seen by all users searching that hashtag. You’re more likely to get noticed if you think outside the box and allow your creativity to shine through, sharing a photo that utilises the theme in a way that stands out.
Inspiration from Others
Still struggling for ideas for how to get creative? Look to others for inspiration; create a Pinterest board and a folder with saved Instagram images to save the photographs that you wish you had taken yourself. Ask yourself what it is that you love about these photos, do they have a common theme, and if there is anything that you could try yourself. Never directly copy an image, and if you think you have imitated someone else’s work too closely, always reference them as an inspiration in your caption.
Think about how you would like your Instagram to develop. If you would like to share more photographs of yourself, think of ideas for how to get more creative with self-portraits. Interested in developing your flat-lays? Compile a Pinterest board of inspiration and see what you can learn. Want to add a more fantastical feel to your grid? Hone your Photoshop skills and ensure you are following people like @allthatisshe and @alexandriaslens for inspiration.
Ultimately, if you think outside the box and try something new, you are sure to produce creative photos. Yes, the results may be a little hit or miss, but you learn just as much from the photos that don’t work as from the ones that do.
Words by Emma Lavelle.